How perfect. Today, a day late, I checked out Writerquake, the blog from Silverton, Oregon. In another "Old Postcard Wednesday," Lydia shares the recent loss of a nearby dairy. What about my own fondness for old milk bottles? Quickly I dusted off some samples.
Last night we had dinner with two women who grew up on farms in Iowa and Minnesota. Both were amused by my fondness for the idea of chickens and open to the idea of hens as a metaphor for women. Mine is the longing of a very, very urban person, I explained, and speculated there might have been a true poultry-raiser in my unknown, Polish-Russian family of origin.
Milk bottles represent a similar mystery with their labels of unknown, long gone farms--
Little's of Hanover, Pa. Phone ME 7-5131...Bates Farm (now conservation property) in Carlisle, Mass...Riley in Pitman, N.J. I have another, a half-pint (cream?) from Bellach Farms, Inc in Brooklyn New York with "Deposit" and "Registered" lettering. Historians (mine seem to be from 1930s and 40s) and collectors of milk bottles can reveal their respective time slots in American history. The marbles in the Bates bottle belonged to our son, one very old was found in backyard of the house where he grew up in Baltimore.
"You can't beat our milk but you can whip our cream," with the picture of a baby stops me. Is this some reference to the possibility of spanking one's child? Fits with my view of Pennsylvania as a dark, over-churched place, resistant to woman's right to choose. [Isn't it grand when almost any image or idea can be worked into one's personal ideology? Right wing very good at this; may be something to learn more about.]
For some of your own--old or new--they can be purchased through Local Amish Farms in, yes, southeastern Pennsylvania. Besides photos of many bottles still being produced, the site has extensive information about where to get home delivery of milk (not necessarily in glass), a social networking site for bottle owners--and source for the link above on "historians." Less successful in finding academic-type text but did locate Janet Golden's "The Social History of Wet Nursing: from Breast to Bottle." Seems the glass bottle was introduced in U.S. in 1868.
Forgot to point out to friends last night that I was wearing a new ring. Drawn to earrings in a handmade craft store window, downtown on 10th around Morrison. As I was buying the earrings, I noticed animal rings on the counter. Same price, $16, as earrings for this rooster. Small helpful gesture toward local economy.
Would have preferred a hen but males do continue to rule, right?